Nationwide Prayer Services Remember Va. Tech Victims

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Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine called for a moment of silence at noon, and institutions around the country hold vigils and prayer services in honor of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

ALEX COHEN, host:

From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Cohen, sitting in for Alex Chadwick who's on assignment.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand.

Coming up, John McCain bombs and the Beach Boys, and Alberto Gonzales can't get a break. We'll have analysis of this week's political missteps.

COHEN: But first, to Blacksburg, Virginia, where earlier today, a moment of silence was held for the victims of this week's shooting at Virginia Tech.

BRAND: That moment was observed across the country with vigils and prayer services, from California to Washington's National Cathedral.

COHEN: Today, proud Virginia Tech Hokies, on campus and off, are wearing maroon and orange. Those are the school's colors. NPR's Rachel Martin joins us now from the Virginia Tech campus. Rachel, could you tell us where exactly you are and describe the scene there?

RACHEL MARTIN: Well, Alex, I'm actually - I've walked a little further down in the campus. I'm on the edge of the drill field outside the Burruss Hall -that's the administration building. This is where a few hundred people have gathered to commemorate the moment of silence. It's a sea of maroon and orange. People are literally dressed head to toe in the colors of Virginia Tech. And people have their heads bowed, still actively engaged in a moment of pause and remembrance.

Blacksburg is a small town, and it's hard to find someone here who doesn't have a connection to the university. And that support is definitely being demonstrated here.

COHEN: What will be happening on the Virginia Tech campus for the rest of the weekend?

MARTIN: There are several different events planned. As of - individual memorial services are starting to take place. This afternoon, there will be a memorial service for one of the two engineering professors who has killed in the attacks. Kevin Granata. He's 46. He was an engineering professor. And he was described of the dean of engineering as a, quote, "world class researcher and a mentor to students." His memorial service will be at a Presbyterian church here.

Right now in Roanoke, about 30 miles away, there's a memorial for Virginia Tech. There's - that congregation of lighting candles and reading the names of all those who lost their lives. And there are several different events planned throughout the weekend, including a benefit concert for a young woman, 23-year-old Julia Pryde, who lost her life in those attacks. She was a biological systems and engineering student, and she volunteered for Sustainable Development Group in North Carolina that's holding a benefit tonight.

COHEN: There have been reports that students and families on campus has been quite critical of the media being there. What have you heard so far?

MARTIN: There's definitely been some pushback. Yesterday, actually, four students came into the media center and handed out on a piece of paper a statement, a written statement that said, you know, we appreciate that you're the media, you have a job to do. But you've done it. And now, it's time for you to go and it's time for us to take back our campus.

And just working here in the last week, it's been noticeable, the change. People are tired. There are media here from all over the world. And they're tired of relaying their stories and having to relive the emotional trauma that people here have suffered.

COHEN: Rachel, just to confirm. On Monday, classes are back in session? It's somewhat back to business for Virginia Tech, is that correct?

MARTIN: Back to business in name. We'll see how that actually plays out. I have heard over - I've overheard students saying their going to use this extra time they've had off this week to study and to just keep on keeping on.

COHEN: Thank you very much. NPR's Rachel Martin on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. Thank you, Rachel.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

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